10 Points On Mental Illness And The Local Church
For the past 15 years, I’ve worked feverishly on developing a full-time counseling center for the members of the congregations that I’ve served and the communities surrounding them. My seminary experiences coupled with pastoring people made me acutely aware of my own inadequacies in ministering effectively in certain situations. It has been vividly clear for quite some time that most pastors and ministries are not prepared to deal with all of the challenges that affect parishioners.
Additionally, since 2013, at least 20 U.S. pastors have taken their own lives as a result of depression and mental illness. Presently, the fastest growing population of persons battling mental illness is 14-26 year olds. While many people may not fully understand these realities, please allow me to offer a few thoughts on Mental Illness Within Churches.
1) Many people reject the reality of mental illness because of an over-emphasis on the “Devil”, “demons” and “evil spirits”.
2) Reading the Bible, accepting Christ, being “saved” and “having the Holy Spirit” are not “cure alls” for every issue and dysfunction.
3) Mental Illness is not regarded as a “disease” by many people of faith.
4) Many people of faith believe that “exorcisms”, “the laying on of hands” and “anointing people with oil” are the only things needed if someone is dealing with mental illness.
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